EGMT 1530: Talking Trash

How much do we clean and why? How close will we come to filth, grime and refuse, and when? Do we see people and places as “polluted”? Talking Trash asks students to investigate the origins of their own divisions of the world, examining how their classifications of things as disposable informs their politics, identity, behavior and sense of space. We will use our distinct conceptualizations and uses of “trash” to frame our discussions of the categories we create and the notions of difference we produce. Placed within the context of philosophical, anthropological, medical and political treatments of filth and virtue, danger and purity, disposability and preservation, life and afterlife across time and cultures, we will examine the ongoing politics and industries surrounding dumping and sorting; conduct archeological analysis of our own trash; and learn to make art from once discarded refuse.